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KUTV-Ch. 2’s owner reportedly wants to buy KSTU-Ch. 13’s owner

First Published      Last Updated Mar 01 2017 01:13 pm

According to a published report, the owners of KUTV-Ch. 2 are looking to buy the owners of KSTU-Ch. 13.

The chances of the two stations ever being owned by the same company are virtually nil, however.

Reuters is reporting that Sinclair Broadcast Group (which owns KUTV) has approached Tribune Media Co. (which owns KSTU) about a buyout. That would create a massive company — Sinclair owns or operates 173 stations; Tribune owns or operates 42 stations.

Under current FCC regulations, that won't fly. There's a cap on how much of the country one company's stations can reach — 39 percent. Sinclair is just under that cap at 38 percent; Tribune has an FCC waiver and is over the cap at 44 percent.

There's overlap in the markets where the two companies own stations, but a combining the two station groups would be way over the 39 percent cap.

There's speculation that the limit will be relaxed under the Trump administration. However, there's no precedent for allowing one company to own two major broadcast network affiliates in the same market — KUTV is a CBS affiliate; KSTU is a Fox affiliate.

Yes, KTVX-Ch. 4 (an ABC affiliate) and KUCW-Ch. 30 (a CW affiliate) share ownership, but The CW is not on a par with ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox.

Sinclair already owns KUTV, KJZZ and KMYU in Utah, and it's beyond belief that the FCC would approve Sinclair adding KSTU.

If Sinclair does end up buying all of Tribune — and it may be interested in buying just parts that company — it would have to sell KSTU to a third entity.

All of this is preliminary, Reuters is reporting, "and there is no certainty they will lead to any deal." Both companies declined to comment.